13 ways to act like a business owner in 2013

By Matt Eilers

USA Financial


As I reflect back on 2012, I can recall a number of conversations where good producers were stuck in a rut and had lost sight of why they got into this business. When it comes down to it, I believe it all revolves around how we think about and approach our business on a day-to-day basis.

Friends, are you stuck in a rut? Have you found yourself sitting in your office and twiddling your thumbs, wondering where your next piece of business will come from? If you are the type of advisor that spends most of his day on Facebook and LinkedIn wondering when the phone will ring, stop reading this article. For those of you who stumbled across this article and are wondering how you can grow your practice next year, keep reading.

Remember the day you got into this business? Remember the excitement of owning your own practice and being your own boss? As I reflect back on 2012, I can recall a number of conversations where good producers were stuck in a rut and had lost sight of why they got into this business. When it comes down to it, I believe it all revolves around how we think about and approach our business on a day-to-day basis.

For me, sometimes it’s about getting excited about something again. Maybe for you, it’s a new system; maybe it’s a big commission. Whatever it is, you need to make sure that when you are stuck in the land of negativity, you get out of it quickly. You are a business owner. You create your own destiny.

How many times have you whined and complained about a marketing strategy that didn’t work? How many times did you dwell on a case that slipped through the cracks? Are you stuck in 2008, or are you like many of the successful business owners that are capitalizing in 2012?

Get out of the rut in 2013. Do something new. Add a piece of marketing to your funnel. Remember, there isn’t just one spoke in any wheel. You need to have a coordinated and synchronized plan to get in front of new prospects and grow your business with new systems. Keep evolving it. Keep changing, and you won’t regret it.

Here are some things to consider doing differently in 2013 to refresh and revitalize your approach:

1. Get into seminar marketing again (or finally take that leap). Seminars are better than ever right now. I’ve seen firsthand numbers and results that are like those of the “golden days.” The era of the plate licker is dead; quit hanging your hat on that excuse. Seminars are working right now — very well, actually.

2. Investigate a new way to generate leads. Systems out there have evolved. There are many great Internet lead systems that can create great lead traffic for you. Research them and test them.

3. Get back into radio, or find a company that can start funneling radio listener traffic to you. People are listening, and this works.

4. Re-vamp your company website. If it is nothing but a “hanging business card” you are wasting your money. Find somebody that can optimize it for SEO and GEO, so people can actually find you. Advisors actually do get leads this way. How many leads did you get from your website in 2012?
5. Re-invent your referral system. Engage your best clients differently and re-segment them if needed. Utilize focus groups for feedback and start building a community that your clients will want to plug into.

6. Re-target your centers of influence. Find new relationships with CPAs, Attorneys and other industry professionals that you can engage with, and send them referrals. You will get the same back from them if you practice what you preach.

7. Engage in low cost but high credibility marketing systems. If it doesn’t meet those criteria, don’t do it.

8. Turn-key as many processes in your business as you can. This can be everything from how exactly you manage your calendar to how you handle client meetings and follow up. Systematize everything.

9. Find some new branding opportunities. Cut a personal audio interview CD, create new brochures, update your biography and firm’s mission statement and actually tell people about it.

10. Drip on your lists! Quit saying you will and just do it.

11. Connect with other advisors. Chances are, if you are a good producer, you are tied in with a company that will provide networking opportunities for you to exchange and share ideas that are working. Plug into them.

12. Have you ever received a professional valuation of your practice? If you haven’t, do it. Those results just may motivate you.

13. Survey your clients. Find out what makes them tick and what they like to do. Start getting more involved in their lives. If they are an “A” client, you should be treating them like one.

If none of this peaks your interest, you may not be the right person for this business. If you are a true business owner, you know and understand the motto “adapt or die.” If you are like many of the folks out there that have been complaining about rates going down and thinking that there is nothing good to sell anymore, this business isn’t for you. If you are a true business owner, you know it’s all relative. We still have a great business. We still have excellent products that solve problems.

If you are the type of agent that pushes that one shiny product left and right and does nothing else to grow your practice, be warned: Your competition loves that. They are the ones doing many or all of the things above, every year. They are adapting, not dying. That’s what the true business owner does. It’s time to put on your big boy pants. Plan out next year and make it profitable. Remember, you are a business owner. Act like one.